17 November 2009

Ray of light for Chemistry students

Photo: Rebecca Hylton,Prof Mike Ward(l)and Prof Keith Burnett(r)

One of the University of Sheffield’s most loyal staff members was honoured on Monday 16 November 2009, when the Department of Chemistry officially opened a suite of rooms named after him.

The late Ray Charlesworth, MBE, (1928 – 2008), was one of the longest-serving members of technical staff in the Department of Chemistry at the University, working there for 28 years. Before his death, Ray made provision for an extremely generous gift of £180,000 to provide a permanently endowed scholarship fund in the department, to help gifted Chemistry students who might otherwise struggle with the costs of University.

Now, in recognition of his devotion and generosity, the Department of Chemistry has named two newly-refurbished rooms after Ray and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Keith Burnett cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of The Charlesworth Suite.

The suite consists of two rooms that can be opened out into one larger room. It will act as a staff and student common room and meeting room, and will also be used to host prospective Chemistry students on Open Days and UCAS Days. The refurbishment of the Charlesworth Suite was made possible by £10,000 of donations from alumni (former students), current and former staff and friends to the University’s Alumni Fund.

During his 28 years of service as Head Storekeeper to the Department of Chemistry, Ray’s reputation as a first-class store-man became widespread throughout the campus. He saw the University as his “second home” and was always looking for ways to help the Department, the University and its students. Ray also played a major role in the computerisation of the manually operated stock control system and recognised the benefits that could be derived from modern techniques. Everyone who knew him had the greatest respect and affection for him.

Rebecca Hylton, the first Charlesworth Scholarship recipient, said: “The scholarship has now provided me with the means to make the most of the opportunities that the University of Sheffield has to offer. Thanks to Ray’s extraordinary generosity, my course is very diverse, giving me an insight into many areas of chemistry and providing me with a foundation in practical mathematics to accompany this work.”

Mike Ward, Head of the Department of Chemistry, added: “Ray would have been thrilled to know that his money is helping chemists of the future to further develop their skills. The naming of the Chemistry common room is a fitting tribute to a man who was much admired, and loved by all in the Department.”